Hackers had access to Volkswagen IT systems for years

Hackers had access to the IT systems of the German car manufacturer Volkswagen between 2010 and 2015. German media write this and it is confirmed by Volkswagen. 19,000 documents were stolen. According to the German media, all tracks lead to China.

The German news magazine Der Spiegel and the public broadcaster ZDF claim that the cyber attack started in 2010. The hackers are said to have first analyzed Volkswagen’s IT systems that year to identify possible weaknesses. In 2011, the hackers allegedly started stealing data and documents and this continued unnoticed in the following years. In 2013, the hackers managed to gain administrator privileges and thus penetrate even deeper into the IT systems of the German car manufacturer.

The actors reportedly managed to steal more than 19,000 documents to steal. According to Der Spiegel and ZDF, they were mainly looking for information about the development of petrol engines, gearboxes, dual-clutch transmission systems, e-mobility and fuel cells. Volkswagen noticed in early June 2014 that their IT systems had been hacked. This was because the hackers allegedly made a typo. This typo reportedly caused the IT systems to suddenly start asking for a lot more capacity and that was noticed. The German car manufacturer then put together a team of security experts to keep an eye on the hackers and take the necessary measures. According to the German journalists, it was possible to analyze the IP addresses of the hackers and they seemed to come from China. According to Der Spiegel and ZDF, the hackers always stopped their activities at a certain time. According to German news media, that time corresponded to 4 p.m. in the Asian country. This makes the news media suspect that these are Chinese state hackers with an office job and associated office hours.

Volkswagen has confirmed the hack. The German car company emphasizes that the attack took place more than ten years ago and that the company has since better secured its IT systems. The German car manufacturer has not yet elaborated on the facts.